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Switches, Key Caps & Lighting
Switches & Key Caps
Aiming for that happy medium between clicky Blue and linear Red switches, Patriot opted to outfit the Viper V760 with Kailh Brown switches. Unlike some companies that offer the same keyboard with different switch options, Patriot offers only Browns.
The key caps are laser-etched polycarbonate, with translucent characters that allow the backlighting to glow through. The key caps have an oh-so-slightly textured look (visible only if you look especially closely). This, is my observation, gives them a slight shine, which offers a fortunate side effect: You don’t notice as the grease from your fingers shines up these key caps. This, for example, as opposed to Razer keyboard key caps that ship with a matte finish but show the greasy shine more obviously.
Every switch is equipped with an LED, and the V760 supports RGB lighting. A small shortcoming is that because the LEDs are positioned at the top of the switch housings, and there are numerous secondary characters on the caps, the key lighting is slightly uneven. Subjectively, though, the slightly dimmer lighting on the secondary characters was not immediately noticeable.
You can do quite a bit with the lighting (as detailed below in the Software section), but Patriot created the V760 to allow you to adjust many lighting settings right on the keyboard.
The controls are scattered all over the keyboard, though. The F6-F12 keys all offer some lighting functions, as does the Pause Break (Reset) key. The directional keys control the direction (ha!) of the lighting, Pg Up and Pg Dn control the speed of a given lighting effect, and dimming/brightness is assigned to the - and + keys. F1-F5 are where you can store your five profiles, which include lighting settings.
All of this requires the Function key, which on the V760 is to the right of the spacebar and Alt key has a cool “viper” character on it. (Also note that because of the lighting controls occupying space on the F keys, the media controls have been bumped to the number keys.)
That is all to say that although you can control a great deal without software, it’s not exactly intuitive, even though there are secondary characters printed on the appropriate key caps.
For example, let’s say you want to set a certain light effect, such as Reactive mode. (In Reactive mode, when you press a key, the LED will light up and then fade.) To turn it on, press Fn + F9--twice. (If you press that key combo only once, it does this crazy rainbow-colored raindrop effect.) To adjust the fading speed up or down, press Fn + Pg Up or Fn + Pg Dn, respectively. To increase or decrease the brightness of the lighting for this effect, press Fn and “+” or “-” respectively.
That’s a lot of key presses, and we haven’t even adjusted the colors yet. No friend, for that you need to use the software. More on that in a bit.
That’s just one of many lighting modes the V760 offers:
- Spectrum (cycles through “all the colors of the rainbow”)
- Breathe (selected color brightens and fades)
- Raindrop (detailed above)
- Reactive (detailed above)
- Vortex (keys light up one at a time from the top left to the center, then disappears to the bottom right)
- Sidewinder (lights start at the top row of keys and then winds side to side until it reaches the bottom row)
- Ripple (press any key and the lights emanate from that point in a ripple pattern)
- Spotlight (keys light up on opposite sides of the keyboard, meet in the middle, then return)
- Radar (lighting travels along the edge of the keyboard and lights a section of keys at a time)
- Waves (spectrum lights moves from one end of the keyboard to the other)
You can also program up to five of your own custom lighting configurations. First, enable Record mode by pressing Fn + F12. When you do so, F1-F5 will start blinking, indicating that the device is ready for you to program something - in this case, colors. Press any of the F1-F5 keys to select an empty profile. Then, press any key to change its color; you can keep pressing the key to pick different colors--one of seven presets.
This requires you to press each key multiple times - every single one that you want lit in a certain color. For example, white is the seventh color in the rotation, so if you want every single key to be lit in white, you have to press all 104 of them seven times each.
When you’re done, press Fn + F12 again to save your settings.
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quick everybody join in the rgb mech keyboard bandwagon!Reply
TH wrote several news articles about the XMIT Hall Effect RGB keyboard. The question is not "Why are there so many commodity keyboards?" but rather, "Why do you keep reviewing commodity keyboards when you have something much more interesting lying around?"Reply
Love my corsair K95 RGB. Its the love of what i love.Reply
19597763 said:TH wrote several news articles about the XMIT Hall Effect RGB keyboard. The question is not "Why are there so many commodity keyboards?" but rather, "Why do you keep reviewing commodity keyboards when you have something much more interesting lying around?"
That's a fair question. The answer is nuanced. Our goal as a publication is not simply to review the coolest stuff; we want to examine as much of each market as possible--the gear people are spending their hard-earned money on, and the gear that stands out as truly remarkable. Sometimes that means reviewing less sexy gear--as you (probably correctly) call them, "commodity keyboards". Because maybe the commodity stuff is actually really great. Maybe it's garbage. But we won't know until we review them, and in the meantime, people are buying them.
Further, we're not just in the business of reviews, we're in the business of *comparative* reviews. So taking a look at a bigger range of the market means we can do a better job of comparing these devices to one another.
Finally, fear not--there's more diversity and some really interesting stuff coming soon. :) And we'll put the XMIT Hall Effect in the queue as soon as he sends me one! :D
A fully programmable RGB mechanical KB for 90 bucks? Is there any competing product at that price?Reply
Looks like a pretty shameless Corsair Strafe ripoff. I love my Corsair though.Reply
One thing that struck me a a possibly problematic is the the keyboard shortcut of FN + Pause/Break to reset the keyboard to factory settings. I don't know about the rest of the keyboard users, as if there are many other options, but sometimes when a program freezes my PC I get irritated and start mashing buttons with both hands. Wiping my settings accidentally because I'm frustrated would send me to the other room for an hour to cool down. A button or switch on the backside next to the wire or USB port would be a great addition to stop the double handed freak out because I'm an idiot move.Reply
A great article with tons of information. Kudos to you for doing a great job with it. After reading your previous article on How you test the keyboard switches I was slightly worried that the graphs would be difficult to grasp but your explanations relieved that worry.
I bought this keyboard back in December for $80. There was nothing else with this feature set for that sum of money. I need a 10 key on the right side, so Corsair didn't cut it. I love this keyboard, I think the brown switches are beautiful and so is the lighting. I only wish it matched with my Razer mouse and pad, but I can't pay the prices they want for their Chroma keyboards, so screw it. Highly recommended.Reply
i'm on my fourth mech keyboard.. the pad has to have a volume wheel.. for me to even consider.. this flashy lighted board..Reply